AMIGA 3000+ and AA3000
Year of development: 1989-1991
Rumoured release date: April 1992
Towards the latter end of the 1980s, the Commodore
administration realized that a follow-up to the Amiga 3000 would be required.
This resulted in the development of a third generation chipset, dubbed
'Advanced Amiga' (AA), followed by the design
of a high-end machine to utilize it - the A3000+. As the name suggests,
this system was being designed as a drop-in replacement for the existing
Amiga 3000 motherboard.
The A3000+ is a rare beast - although Commodore
are rumoured to have produced 50 differing versions, less than ten are
known to be in existence. It was the first computer to be based
on the Pandora chipset (later dubbed AA, then AGA). Revision 0 of this
system first booted successfully in February of 1991, thanks to a chip
revision that got the display logic actually working.
The image above shows a blank revision 1 board, which had a completed
audio subsystem. This board was sold in an eBay auction during October
2001. His description of the board is shown below:
"You can see quite a bit of support circuitry for the DSP
in the upper lefthand corner of this board. There was an audio CODEC here,
designed to allow 16-bit, 2-channel recording and playback. This was very
cutting edge at the time, such chips, common today, where just becoming
available. In addition, there was a separate mono CODEC with hardware phase
correction, which supported modem protocols up to V32. The actual DSP was
located above and to the right of the CPU."
The new Amiga boasted several advances, such as the
AT&T DSP3210 50 MHz digital signal processor, performing at 25MFLOPS.
The chip included AT&T's custom multitasking operating system, VCOS
that managed DSP operations. It is rumoured the mid-1991 design revision
provided hardware CODECs for 16-bit stereo I/O (at a maximum rate of 48kHz)
and phase correction, intended for a proposed V32 modems. The prototype
board was missing the monitor connector and scan doubling hardware found
in the earlier A3000, though this may have been implemented in a later
model. It is reported that existing versions of the machine are stable
and capable of running AGA games.
- Dave Haynie, eBay auction, October 2001
||Altered A3000 desktop
unit (minor modification to Zorro slots and PSU)
||On-board 25MHz 68030 (w/ MMU) and '882, the particular
machine shown in the photographs is used with a commodore A3640
||AmigaOS 3.0 (double
ROM, as found in the A4000)
||2MB Chip, 8Mb Fast (A3000-style ZIP RAM)
||onboard DSP socket, intended for AT&T DSP3210
||4 Zorro III, 2 in-line ISA, 1 Video slot
||A3000 style SCSI Controller (same Western Digital
rev. 8 chip as in the A3000)
||1.76MB Floppy drive
Development was cancelled by the new head of
engineering, Bill Sydnes allegedly due to cost, although mutterings by
ex-Commodore employees indicate his deep dislike of the previous administration
was a major factor. A scaled-down version of the A3000+ was later developed
under the title, AA3000. This was also cancelled in another wide-ranging
In an attempt to produce a successor, a slower
machine was designed - the Amiga 4000. However,
the machine was plagued by slow drive access and CPU intensive IDE interface.
In comparison to the A3000+, the A4000 was a disappointing replacement.
Images of the A3000+
Pictures originally donated to the Big
Book of Amiga Hardware by Anonymous. Follow this
link for more images of the A3000 Plus.
Alice and Lisa AGA chip (66K) |
Last Update: 1/11/2001